Sunday, August 19, 2018

Essential Phone in Halo Gray getting big discount at Amazon

Did you miss out on the huge discount that the Essential Phone got during Prime Day? If so, there’s a new deal available now that’ll get you close to that Prime Day price.

The Essential Phone in Halo Gray is now on sale at Amazon. This is the Amazon-exclusive model with a matte finish on both the titanium and ceramic parts of its body, giving it a different look than the other versions of the Essential Phone and their glossy finishes.

The main features of the Essential Phone include a 5.71-inch 2560×1312 display, dual 13MP rear cameras (one RGB, one monochrome), a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storeage. There’s a microSD card slot if you want to add more storage, and a 3040mAh battery powers the whole package.

Also of note is that the Essential Phone has been updated to Android 9 Pie. In fact, Essential released its Pie update the same day that Google updated its own Pixel phones, which is pretty impressive. So if you’re looking for an affordable way to get an Android 9 Pie phone right now, this deal will do it for you.

source: androidandme
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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Revised Google Chromecast passes through FCC

The Google Chromecast is set to receive a hardware update soon. This new Chromecast is likely to look similar or identical to the old one, but inside it will feature a better WiFi antenna and Bluetooth support.

The new device went through the FCC with the model number NC2-6A5B. The antenna is modified with a 0.5mm trim on the PCB trace resulting in significantly better performance on 5GHz. It also has full Bluetooth support, despite the previous gen model having a Bluetooth chip without support for it. 

We don’t know exactly what the Bluetooth will be used for and we don’t know when the device will launch, but it’s an iterative upgrade to our favorite little accessory. We may see it at the next Google event alongside the other new hardware Google has in store for us!

source: androidandme
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Friday, August 17, 2018

Motorola is building an AI smart speaker for the Chinese market

Smart speakers are all the rage these days. Google and Amazon have a lead on just about everyone, but that doesn’t mean companies like Apple, Samsung, and now apparently Motorola, don’t want in on the action.

AndroidPure has a report out on Friday that details Motorola’s attempts at jumping on the smart speaker bandwagon, but it looks like the Moto-brand is focusing more on the Chinese market out of the gate. The report indicates that the Moto AI will be in a size category between a Google Mini and the standard Google Home, with fabric on the top and bottom, and a design that’s reminiscent of Apple’s HomePod.

Motorola is working with Baidu in China to bring the Moto AI to market. As far as the features are concerned, owners will be able to use voice commands like, “What’s today’s news” or “Help me set a reminder”, among other commands.


Interestingly, Motorola is including a kids mode, too, which will automatically change when it detects that kids are interacting with the device. When it is in the kids mode, it can play music and read stories.

There’s no word on whether or not Motorola’s AI smart speaker will make it out of China, but it’s good to see another option finding its way to the market.

source: androidandme
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Amazon Back to School sale offers deals on Echo devices, Fire tablets, and Fire TV products

Back to School season is underway, and Amazon wants to help you add some smarts to your home, dorm, or apartment on the cheap.

Amazon is now discounting several of its Echo and Fire devices. There are deals on the Echo Dot, Echo, and Echo Plus, and if you prefer your Echo with a screen, there’s a big discount on the Echo Show, too. Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Cube are on sale, as well as the Toshiba Fire TV Edition if you need a new 4K Ultra HD television.

Here’s a list of Amazon devices that are on sale right now:

There are some sizable discounts to be had here, including on devices like the Echo Show, Fire TV, and the new Fire TV Cube. Amazon says that the deals will be around for a limited time, but there’s no telling exactly how long they’ll last, so you may want to act soon if you’re interested.

source: androidandme
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Top 10 Android app updates this week: Zagat, Google Voice

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We’ve found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the most installs. As in the past, we’re going to filter out minor updates for the super-popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but we’ll make exceptions for apps that have had significant updates. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature and that you discover some apps that end up being useful.

ClevCalc - Version 2.16.0



What’s new in this version:

  • Added an option to purchase no ads version
  • Added ‘Tip Calculator’


Twitter Lite – Version 2.0.0


Twitter Lite

What’s new in this version:

  • Push notifications
  • Data saver
  • Night mode
  • Bookmarks
  • Save images


Zagat - Version 3.0.0



What’s new in this version:

  • Brand new app with a revamped UI. The old version will stop working soon, so update today.


Contacts - Version 2.8.4



What’s new in this version:

  • Add custom fields and “File as” to your contacts
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements


Sync for reddit - Version 16.5.0


Sync for Reddit

What’s new in this version:

  • Fixed the dreaded Android Pie issues
  • First steps into a material design 2 redesign
  • Loads more fixes


Duolingo - Version 3.95.0



What’s new in this version:

  • We’ve added a new “listen-and-tap” exercise type for all courses, where you listen to a phrase and then tap the corresponding words from the word bank below. These exercises will be shown at earlier levels of each course so you can get a head start on improving your listening comprehension skills.


Netflix – Version 6.9.0



What’s new in this version:

  • Make Netflix yours with our new profile icons. We refreshed the classics and added new icons inspired by the characters you love. Go on, give your profile a makeover.


Google Duo - Version 37.2.2088


Google Duo

What’s new in this version:

  • Now available for Android tablets
  • Bug fixes and product improvements


Freeletics  Bodyweight - Version 5.4.0


Freeletics Bodyweight

What’s new in this version:

  • NEW: You’ve conquered Aphrodite and Kentauros. Can you conquer Erebos, Achilles, Odysseus and Amazona? Find over 30 new God Workouts now in the app. Discover new favorites, set new PBs.
  • NEW: Your Freeletics Coach is now smarter and tougher. Discover the digital Coach that will challenge your body to transform. #noexcuses


Google Voice - Version 2018.33.20808


google voice

What’s new in this version:

  • New look and feel
  • New Contacts tab
  • Stability and performance improvements


source: androidandme
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HTC U12+ gets Flame Red color option in U.S., pre-orders now live

The HTC U12+ is getting a new coat of paint in the U.S.

HTC is now accepting pre-orders for the Flame Red version of the HTC U12+. This model is being sold unlocked and is compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. It includes 64GB of built-in storage, but there’s also a microSD card slot included. The Flame Red HTC U12+ costs $799 and will begin shipping in September.

Some of the highlights of the HTC U12+ include its 6-inch 2880×1440 Super LCD 6 screen and its dual rear camera setup, which includes a 12MP wide angle camera with OIS, EIS, and an f/1.75 aperture as well as a 16MP camera with 2x optical zoom. There are two cameras on the front of the HTC U12+, too, which are 8MP wide angle sensors.

Other features of the HTC U12+ include a Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a 3500mAh battery. There’s a fingerprint reader and face unlock support, and the U12+ offers pressure-sensitive buttons that recently got improved with a software update. HTC has included Edge Sense 2 as well, letting you perform actions and launch apps by squeezing the sides of the U12+.

We first learned of the Flame Red version of the HTC U12+ when the phone was first announced a few months ago, but that version has been absent in the U.S. It’s nice to see that changing now because having more color options when buying a phone is always a good thing, and this particular color option looks pretty darn good.

source: androidandme
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Google may launch smart speaker with display by end of 2018

The race to conquer the connected home is on and Google is looking to launch a new product to compete with Amazon. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Google will launch a smart speaker with a display by the end of 2018, and likely before the holiday shopping season begins. This product will be designed to compete with Amazon’s Echo Show, enhancing the voice assistant function of the Google Assistant on existing Google Home devices.

Google introduced its Smart Display platform at Google I/O 2018, working with partners like Lenovo and LG to release Assistant-powered smart speakers with displays. But the company has been expected to make one of its own and, according to this report, is aiming to produce and sell three million units.

That’s a bold initiative, as Amazon only sold 315,000 Echo Show units in 2017 after launching the product in mid-2017. Though Amazon remains the dominant force in smart speakers, Google is quickly gaining steam. In Q1 2018, for example, Google accounted for 36% of smart speakers sold, while Amazon accounted for only 28%.

Google’s primary selling point is the powerful AI software that powers the Google Assistant. Users are able to use natural language, and Google constantly updates its Assistant software to allow for new functions. While Amazon remains the leader in the number of integrated apps, Google is closing the gap and is using tight integration with its own services to further benefit users.

Google’s display-equipped smart speaker will likely be a flagship device and a reference point for other manufacturers. If the company’s plan is successful, it could help Google reach the front of the pack in the sprint towards connected homes.

What are your thoughts on a display-equipped smart speaker from Google?

source: androidandme
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